Here's a movie for you if, and only if, you are a 80s child or maybe if you are a die-hard rock fan. Based on the musical of the same name, this film adaptation casts Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, a rock legend whose similarities with Guns 'N' Roses front-man Axl Rose are a bit uncanny. A story about a small town girl arriving in Hollywood and falling in love with a city boy, almost instantly, remains the weakest point of the film. Granted Julianne Hough playing Sherrie and Diego Boneta as the city boy Drew are both vocally talented, but their on-screen chemistry leave a lot to be desired. Amidst a number of rock ballads and a few rock songs, the cast go about falling in love, rediscovering themselves, and saving the "last" rock institution left on the sunset strip, The Bourbon Room, owned by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man Lonny (Russell Brand).
It's probably the versatility of Tom Cruise that takes the audience by surprise and also manages to be the saving grace of the film. His vocal talents and screen presence is simply outstanding and in stark contrast of the roles that he normally performs. While most of the other characters are grossly underdeveloped, it seems that only Tom Cruise and Paul Giamatti as Stacee Jaxx's manager Paul Gill are the two actors really enjoying their roles.
Rock of Ages is a great excuse to get together with your high school chums, but unfortunately due to the whole lovey-dovey storyline it ends up choosing songs that have been done to death in film earlier or even covered by the cast of Glee. I was glad to hear Tom Cruise take on Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" as his opening number for it remains one of the most underrated rock songs from the time.
The remaining cast of Catharina Zeta-Jones as the Mayor's wife out to shut down The Bourbon Room, Malin Ackerman as the Rolling Stones reporter interviewing Stacee Jaxx, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand go about with roles that have very little meat to them. While Lonny would have been a character that was right up Russell's alley, it seems he holds back owing to the fact that the film was rated 12A so it could appeal to a wider audience. Alec Baldwin and Catharina Zeta-Jones bring nothing new to their characters portraying toned down versions of acts they have done before in films or TV series.
Rock of Ages has its comic moments, but isn't laugh-out-loud funny. It has foot tapping rock music, but not songs that would want you to stand up and sing and dance in the aisles. It has performances that shine, while others that just don't leave any impact. In the end it remains a walk down memory lane, one that starts with Guns 'N' Roses' Paradise City, and should have in all honestly ended with Sweet Child O' Mine, but alas that is not the case.
Rating - 3/5